I love March Madness — the NCAA College Basketball Tournament. This year I eagerly anticipate the most exciting men’s NCAA Tournament in recent years, even though my beloved Kentucky Wildcats aren’t in it.
A printable bracket is accessible on NCAA.com, as well as on numerous other websites. Expect numerous upsets; an overwhelming favorite does not exist. My Final Four predictions follow below.
My Choices for the Final Four
My first pick for the 2013 NCAA Final Four is Louisville. They won the Big East Tournament impressively. Louisville enjoys much talent, significant experience, and an outstanding coach in Rick Pitino. I hope you don’t think Louisville being from my home state of Kentucky biases my perspective.
My second choice is Kansas. They won the Big 12 Conference Tournament. Bill Self is also an outstanding coach. The Jayhawks will be playing in Atlanta in April, as I see it.
My third choice is Miami. The Hurricanes impressively won both the ACC regular season title and the ACC Tournament.
My final choice for the Final Four is Wisconsin. The Badgers are only a #5 seed, but I think the West region is the weakest of the four. And I believe the tough Big Ten season prepared Wisconsin well. Ohio State won’t defeat them in a rematch.
Four Other Teams With Especially Good Final Four Potential
Indiana could be a Final Four team. But I think they lack the discipline and dominating talent to play very well several games in a row versus teams that will be playing over their heads against the preseason consensus national-title favorite.
Duke has another great team this year — thanks in no small part to Mike Krzyzewski’s magnificent coaching. But I don’t believe they have enough talent to get by Louisville into the Final Four.
Gonzaga is now (surprise!) considered one of the top teams in the country by most. Years ago, Gonzaga became a Cinderella story by doing exceptionally well in the NCAA Tournament. This year I expect Gonzaga to fall sometime in the first three rounds, despite being a #1 seed. Another team will become a Cinderella story by upsetting Gonzaga.
Florida is a fourth team that has Final Four potential. My bias as a fan of SEC basketball may be showing. But I think the Gators of Coach Billy Donovan were impressive in the SEC this year — despite losing in the conference tournament championship game.
Kentucky — My Beloved UK Wildcats
Kentucky was a Final Four pick in most preseason polls. But a lot of true Kentucky Wildcats fanatics (including me) felt that the national media overrated this freshman-dominated UK team.
Kentucky lacks the blend of experienced upperclassmen and special freshmen that last year’s national champions possessed. The injury to Nerlens Noel further damaged the Wildcats’ hopes. Kentucky lacks the consistency necessary to win several games in a row — even in the NIT.
When it’s all over, I believe that Rick Pitino and Louisville will win the national championship. But I won’t be too surprised if some Cinderella team that few have taken seriously wins it all this year.
Regardless of who wins, enjoy the excitement and fun of March Madness. But please remember that academics are much more important in college than athletics, even during the NCAA Division I Men’s College Basketball Tournament.
By the way, I’m already looking forward to next year — when I expect Kentucky to be the preseason #1 team.
NCAA.com; “2013 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship Bracket”; NCAA.com; website accessed March 17, 2013
Note: This article was last revised on Selection Sunday, March 17, 2013.